Manchester Finals: Mohamed and Nour take the Trophies….


[1] Mohamed ElShorbagy 3-1 [3] Karim Abdel Gawad      9-11, 11-8, 11-7, 13-11 (71m)

[2] Nour El Tayeb 3-1 [1] Camille Serme (Fra)                3-11, 11-8, 11-7, 11-3 (45m)

Mohamed ElShorbagy and Nour El Tayeb pose with the 2020 Manchester Open trophies



Photos Nathan Clarke.

Gepostet von ‎Egyptian Squash Federation – الاتحاد المصري للإسكواش‎ am Mittwoch, 16. September 2020

Full Manchester Open Coverage


[1] Mohamed ElShorbagy 3-2 [5] Paul Coll (NZL)          11-4, 9-11, 11-9, 8-11, 11-7 (84m)
[3] Karim Abdel Gawad 3-1 [6] Marwan ElShorbagy         11-4, 13-11, 6-11, 12-10 (67m)

[1] Camille Serme (Fra) 3-2 [4] Hania El Hammamy    11-6, 11-8, 11-13, 4-11, 11-9 (69m)
[2] Nour El Tayeb 3-1 [3] Sarah-Jane Perry (Eng)              11-7, 11-13, 14-12, 11-6 (51m)

One French, Three Egyptians in the Final

France’s Camille Serme will feature alongside three Egyptian players on finals day at the 2020 Manchester Open after she overcame World No.6 CIB Hania El Hammamy in a thrilling five-game battle at the National Squash Centre earlier today to reach the women’s title decider.

Serme and El Hammamy met four times last season – and shared two wins apiece – with both their World Championship quarter-final clash and their meeting at the Windy City Open yielding brutal five-game battles. El Hammamy’s win at the World Championship saw her overturn a 2-0 deficit to stun Serme and the 20-year-old came within a whisker of doing so once more.

The Egyptian battled back from two games down, but couldn’t pass the finish line, only just: 11-6, 11-8, 11-13, 4-11, 11-9.

Serme will contest the final with World No.3 and second seed CIB Nour El Tayeb after she dispatched England’s Sarah-Jane Perry in four games.

Nour had never lost to Perry in seven previous PSA World Tour matches but her 100 per cent record over the World No.5 did look in doubt when Perry held three game balls in the third with the scores poised at one game apiece. However, the Egyptian player wasn’t to be denied as she came back to take it, before taking a comfortable fourth game against a tiring Perry to book her spot in her 22nd PSA World Tour final.

The men’s final will see World No.1 Mohamed ElShorbagy take on World No.3 CIB Karim Abdel Gawad after respective wins over New Zealand’s Paul Coll and Mohamed’s younger brother, Marwan.

ElShorbagy picked up the final men’s PSA World Tour title before the suspension – the Canary Wharf Classic – which came off the back of a quarter-final exit at the Windy City Open at the hands of Coll, who claimed his first ever win over the Egyptian at the sixth attempt.

However, in a high-quality, tactical encounter which saw both players explore all areas of the court in some high-octane, intense exchanges, ElShorbagy came out on top to win 11-4, 9-11, 11-9, 8-11, 11-7 after 84 minutes of action.

Karim had five of his 16 matches against the older ElShorbagy brother and progressed to the final after achieving an 11-4, 13-11, 6-11, 12-10 victory.

The 29-year-old surrendered a 6-3 lead in the third game as Marwan rattled off eight unanswered points, but Gawad finally converted his second match ball in the fourth to reach a 36th PSA title decider.

Karim Abdel Gawad

“Playing Marwan is always tricky. You never know what is going on in is head. He is the best on court in finding plans and changing plans,” Gawad explained.

“I was 2-0 up today, 6-4 in the 3rd and then 8-3 in the 4th, and still he found a way to come back. Surprisingly I won the first game, which doesn’t happen a lot. I was really satisfied with that!”

“To be honest, after five months off doing very few exercises inside the house. I wasn’t feeling the best. Squash-wise, I don’t lose it easily, I can come back and still remember the shots, but physically and mentally are most important for me. That was exactly what was happening in training before I came. Every time I was leading in a training match, I would find myself losing the game and that is exactly what happened in both the third and fourth today. That is what I was trying to work on a lot.

Nour El Tayeb

“It was one of those matches where I was not very happy with my squash performance, but I was happy of how I dug in and resisted. Luckily, she made a few errors at the end, which I think was an outcome of me digging in. I am very happy with the win for sure,” El Tayeb said.

“I think I am feeling fit. I was telling myself to keep pushing, step up the ’T’ and to hit the ball harder. It might have made that slight difference at the end.

“The third was crucial. I think she had a big margin, so for me to get the game was important. I could tell she was tired from the beginning of the match, but she just comes up with winners, or she picks up the ball somehow and the ball stays in play. Maybe that caught me by surprise because I thought she would give in but she didn’t. Definitely, the third was crucial for the winner of the game and that was me.

“I always tell Ali that I hate playing SJ, I hate it. She always bothers me with her holds and her straight lines. Every time we play, she figures me out and keeps hitting straight lines. I am working hard on not being bothered by that. For now I am very happy with the head-to-head and I hope it doesn’t change because I think it is the only positive one I have in the top ten.”

Mohamed Elshorbagy
“It was a high-quality match, I think Paul and I played such a good match together.

“I think we both made some mistakes here and there but I’m just glad I pulled through in the fifth at the end. I saw the ball at the end a double, Paul wasn’t sure. If he wasn’t sure about it, he shouldn’t have called it a double bounce. He should have just said let ball, if I was him I would have done the same.

“It was a big point and he needs to be sure it was double to say it was a double, so fair enough. We both played fairly, played high quality, it was a tough battle and I’m just glad to win at the end.

“If you want to stay at the top for a long time, you can’t be the same player every year. You have to change, mix it up and I think I have enough experience now to know my body and understand what works best for me. The court is so huge and I need to use all of it, I can’t just use one side of it.

“I’m doing some things differently this year, it’s been working so far and I think I was able to manage my fitness level during this match better than him even though he is maybe the fittest on tour. But it’s one thing being the fittest on tour and another to manage your fitness throughout the season and I think I did that a bit better than him today.”

“When you play with someone who has never beaten you and then they beat you for the first time, they believe now that they can beat you, so the mentality is completely different. When it was 1-1 and I was 7-3 up in the third, if he had never beaten me before there would be no way he would have come back.

“But because he believed and had the win over me before, he believed he could come back. I made a stupid error when I hit the tin and I should have been more experienced than that, but sometimes when you’re away for a while you remember things during the match.

“I hate to say you learn from losing because why do I need to lose to learn? I want to win and learn within the match. Before the fifth game today, instead of telling myself that I should have finished the match when I was up in the fourth, I told myself that I’ve been in this situation for so many years now.

“I’ve been in this kind of situation against all kinds of great players, so I had to use my experience and be strong mentally. I definitely did that and it’s important to come back tomorrow fresh again.”



[5] Paul Coll (Nzl) 3-2 [4] Tarek Momen                       4-11, 11-3, 11-9, 9-11, 11-7 (75m)
[4] Hania El Hammamy 3-0 [8] Salma Hany                              11-3, 11-5, 11-3 (23m)
[1] Mohamed ElShorbagy 3-1 [8] Joel Makin (Wal)               11-4, 11-7, 8-11, 11-7 (69m)

[2] Nour El Tayeb 3-0 [5] Amanda Sobhy (Usa)            11-7, 11-6, 12-10 (35m)
[6] Marwan ElShorbagy 3-2 [2] Ali Farag     14-12, 11-7, 6-11, 6-11, 11-8 (89m)
[3] Karim Abdel Gawad 3-1 [7] Simon Rosner (Ger) 6-11, 11-4, 11-7, 11-6 (48m)

World No.6 CIB Hania El Hammamy swept aside fellow Egyptian CIB Salma Hany in straight games in just 23 minutes. The 20-year-old will now go head-to-head with top seed Camille Serme in the next instalment of their enthralling rivalry, with the pair winning two apiece in their four battles during the 2019-20 season.

CIB Nour El Tayeb overcame United States No.1 Amanda Sobhy in straight games and 35 minutes.

Meanwhile in the Men’s event, two surprise results, World No.2 CIB Ali Farag and World No.4 CIB Tarek Momen saw their title challenges come crashing to a halt following defeats against World No.7 CIB Marwan ElShorbagy and World No.5 Paul Coll, respectively.

Marwan will play fellow Egyptian CIB Karim Abdel Gawad after he recovered from a game down to defeat Germany’s Simon Rösner.

Coll avenged his defeat to Momen in the final of November’s men’s PSA World Championship with a 4-11, 11-3, 11-9, 9-11, 11-7 victory. Momen outclassed Coll in November’s World Championship title decider and followed that up with another 3-0 triumph against the Kiwi at the Troilus Gold Canada Cup three months later. But Coll prevailed in their latest battle and he will line up against World No.1 Mohamed ElShorbagy for a place in the final.

ElShorbagy will look to gain his revenge on Coll following the Kiwi’s first ever victory over the Egyptian back in March at the Windy City Open, which was the penultimate men’s PSA World Tour event to take place before the COVID-19 enforced suspension of professional squash. The No.1 seed overcame Welshman and training partner Joel Makin 11-4, 11-7, 8-11, 11-7 in 69 minutes.

Karim Abdel Gawad
“I hate starting slowly. The thing is, I am getting older so I won’t be able to handle it. I am really disappointed with the first game. It was all about the mental side. I just warmed up really well and then went on court very passive. It is all about mental, especially playing someone like Simon, you can not give a point, never mind a whole game.

“I am happy to get through in the next three after the slow start.

“Everyone is fit out there. Everyone has the experience of playing a tough match and then playing the next day. I had a tough first round, and today, I won in four but it was still a tough match. I am now looking forward to tomorrow’s match.”


Hania El Hammamy
“I’m really happy with my performance today, I was so focused before I came in.

“Salma is a great player, she’s very tricky and very talented and we’ve trained a lot over the summer together, so I knew what was coming and that’s why I was so focused from the beginning. From the first point I wanted to play well and play the right tactics and I’m glad I managed to do that.

“I watched Salma a lot, I really like watching her, she’s really talented and gifted. When you give her an easy shot she just puts an awesome drop shot in and you lose it.

“It’s really tough playing against Camille, anyone can see that. We played a lot last season and I bet everyone was really happy watching our matches and our battles and I’m really looking forward to tomorrow’s match.”


Round 2 Part 2

[2] Ali Farag 3-1 [12] Gregoire Marche (Fra)              11-1, 7-11, 11-8, 12-10 (56m)
[2] Nour El Tayeb 3-0 [15] Donna Lobban (Aus)                 11-7, 11-7, 11-5 (24m)
[6] Marwan ElShorbagy 3-1 [13] Adrian Waller (Eng)    11-8, 9-11, 11-6, 11-6 (48m)
[3] Karim Abdel Gawad 3-0 [16] Declan James (Eng)          11-5, 17-15, 11-7 (47m)

No.2 seed CIB Nour El Tayeb defeated Australia’s Donna Lobban and she will line up against United States No.1 Amanda Sobhy in the next round. World No.2 CIB Ali Farag continued his Manchester Open campaign in the men’s event as he overcame Frenchman Grégoire Marche, but he was made to work hard for his 11-1, 7-11, 11-8, 12-10 victory.

Farag, who had won all five of their previous meetings on the PSA World Tour, outclassed Marche in the opening game but the No.2 seed was pegged back after a superb response from his opponent. Farag did restore his lead in the third though and overturned three games balls to take the fourth on the tie-break.

Farag will play World No.7 CIB Marwan ElShorbagy for a place in the semi-finals. ElShorbagy defeated England’s Adrian Waller by a 3-1 scoreline and his head-to-head record with Farag is currently locked at four wins apiece.

Former World No.1 CIB Karim Abdel Gawad also confirmed his place in the quarter-finals after beating England’s Declan James in straight games. He will play Germany’s Simon Rösner, who defeated close friend Nicolas Mueller 3-1 in the final match of the day.

Karim Abdel Gawad
“We always have 3-2 matches. We played in the World Teams finals, and it was 3-2, 12-10 in the last. We always play very long matches, so I am very happy to win in three. The second game was 27 minutes. Of course I am really happy to get through in three and I am looking forward to the next round. Declan controlled the ’T’ much more than I did. I was trying to just get the ball to the back corners.

As you said, we didn’t play for a long time, we didn’t go through tough mental matches like this. In the last month or so, I tried to push and play matches as much as I could, in order to gain confidence in my game and in my feeling. The mental aspect is the most important. That is the thing I worked on.”


Marwan El Shorbagy
“I was happy with my performance today, I think I played better than in the first round. I would say I was sharper but I think I need to relax a little bit. I was in a rush in the second game and I wasn’t thinking about what I should be doing in the rallies themselves. But I’m happy with the way I played and I think it will make me sharper. Tomorrow I think I need to find the balance and maybe settle just a little bit.

“I think Adrian is the only player inside the top 20 or 30 who is left handed and I know how tricky and dangerous his forehand specifically is because he can hold the ball really well. I was trying to play a little bit faster so I didn’t give him enough time.

“In my head-to-head with him I think he’s beaten me three times before so I knew how dangerous this match would be, I was really focused and I’m happy to win in four games. I’m not happy with the second game but in a way I think it could be good for my match tomorrow.”

Ali Farag
“The ball was so quick and I realised that in the warm-up.

“I think I adapted to that better than Greg in the first game, he was overhitting a little bit and I found my rhythm. Too often when you’re playing well and you lose the momentum it’s so hard to to regain it again. I lost it in the second and he was playing very well and I was opening up the court a little too much for my own liking, to be honest.

“At the end of the second I knew that even if I didn’t win it I had to get momentum back and take it into the third. In the third I think I played okay but he went 3-0 up and then from that point on I tried to match him at his own game plan and grind it out. I didn’t think I would be able to play well again until I got some confidence and a lead.

“I’m happy to run away with that one, I think it was 8-8 at some point, so they were three crucial points at the end. Then in the fourth I don’t really remember what happened, but in that incident with the referee I shouldn’t have lost my composure. It didn’t affect my play but I wasn’t very happy with the decision.

“It’s a shame that there is no crowd to watch this. We draw off the energy of the crowd and I wish they were here to be as entertained as we were on court. We train for these kinds of matches and it’s always more pleasurable to have a crowd behind the glass.”

Nour El Tayeb
Donna is one of those players who have beaten me before when I was World No.4 or No.5 and she has beaten a lot of top players before, so I don’t take that lightly.

“I don’t know what she is ranked now but her performance does not reflect her ranking. We played at the ToC in the first round and it wasn’t easy, it was a close win in three games for me but it wasn’t easy. I don’t know why I felt very calm for this match, maybe it’s 48 hours in the room.

“I watched a lot of her matches before to remember how she plays and then I watched a lot of my matches because I have plenty of time, we all have. So I analysed a lot of my matches and I wanted to be pumped up and play with intensity. This is the main thing that I’ve been working on over the past year and a half, I want to be intense and not go for silly shots.

“She caught me by surprise, she insisted on lobbing to my backhand and I guess she figured that it’s not my favourite area. I stuck in there though and I was intense throughout the match, which I think made a difference because in the first two games we were very close in the score and I managed to step up at the right time, which I’m very happy with.

“Hopefully I can play well tomorrow.”

[8] Salma Hany 3-0 [14] Coline Aumard (Fra)         11-3, 11-9, 11-6 (30m)
[5] Paul Coll (Nzl) 3-1 [10] Fares Dessouky     11-7, 8-11, 11-5, 12-10 (59m)
[4] Hania El Hammamy 3-0 Nadine Shahin             11-4, 11-8, 11-7 (22m)
[4] Tarek Momen 3-1 [9] Mohamed Abouelghar (Egy)
[1] Mohamed ElShorbagy 3-0 [14] James Willstrop (Eng)  11-7, 11-7, 12-10 (36m)

The quarter-finals of the 2020 Manchester Open will feature a rematch of last season’s PSA Men’s World Championship final after World No.4 CIB Tarek Momen and World No.5 Paul Coll claimed wins on day three of the PSA Silver event taking place in Manchester’s National Squash Centre.

Momen, the reigning World Champion, overcame the challenge of World No.11 CIB Mohamed Abouelghar in an unpredictable encounter in which he came back from a game down to win 5-11, 11-5, 13-11, 11-9.

The third game proved crucial as Momen twice fought back from a game ball down and he held his nerve during the crucial points in the fourth to finally close out the win in 55 minutes.

Coll has lost his last two matches against Momen – including their battle in the World Championship final in Qatar last November – and will look to get one over on the Egyptian after he beat Momen’s compatriot, Fares Dessouky, 11-7, 8-11, 11-5, 12-10.

World No.1 Mohamed ElShorbagy kept up his impressive start to life following the suspension of the PSA World Tour due to the global COVID-19 pandemic as he swept aside former World No.1 James Willstrop in straight games.

Despite being a relatively short match at just 34 minutes in length, the 24th meeting between the pair was a high-quality affair. 29-year-old ElShorbagy – eight years Willstrop’s junior – played some clean and tidy squash to dispatch his opponent, moving 13-11 ahead on their head-to-head record in the process.

He will take on Welshman Joel Makin in the last eight after the World No.10 overcame the tenacious Greg Lobban to book his quarter-final spot.

The other winners on day three were Egyptian duo CIB Hania El Hammamy and CIB Salma Hany and they will go head-to-head in the quarters following respective wins over Nadine Shahin and Coline Aumard.

Tarek Momen

“I started the match really well in the first four or five points but then for some reason the nerves got to me and I couldn’t keep playing like that, I got very tense.

“I think that’s maybe because I haven’t been dealing with nerves for the past six months, so it’s something that I need to train on maybe and get used to again. Thankfully in the second game I managed to regroup and get over this nervousness. He also had an up and down performance, in the second game I didn’t think he played that well and I had a pretty big lead and won that game so easily.

“Up until the third game neither of us were playing well at the same time and then in that third game we played some really good rallies and I’m very pleased with that. In terms of my mental toughness, I felt like I was progressing throughout the match, I played the big points well and I held my nerve in a couple of very difficult situations in the third and fourth game, so there is a lot to be pleased with.

“It is strange not to have Raneem around but maybe the fact that we all have to stay in single rooms makes it a bit easier. I definitely miss having her with me at tournaments and I have to get used to it because it’s going to be the case from now on but we’re super excited about our next phase. We’re expecting a baby and it’s something that we’ve been hoping for for a long time, so I’m more excited to go back and see her after every tournament, so it is fun.”


“James and I go way back. The first time I played him, I was 17-years-old and after I beat him for the first time, I did not have the chance to beat him so many times in a row,” ElShorbagy explained.

“James was part of the ‘Golden Generation’ and one of the few players that I had to change my technique to play him. To beat him I had to change my backhand technique. I had to use my whole arm because when I was younger, I used to just use my wrist. There are very few players who you play in your career who force you into making such a big change.

“I remember the last time he had success against me was in Seattle. He broke my heart because he was not playing hat great having come back from injury and he played so well that day. I always had a tactic to play hard and fast against him but since that day, I have played at the same pace as him, as slow as him.

“He is always used to having players play so fast against him so I have tried to surprise him by playing at the same pace as he does. I worked out that this is the way to play for me. I was smiling at the end because I could see he was not very fit to play today. It is much harder for him to come back to play at his age. He was making more errors because of that, but how stubborn he is, that is the attitude of a champion.”ù


“It’s tough playing against Nadine, we’ve played a few times on PSA but it was a few years ago, so I was a little bit nervous before that match. I haven’t played her for some time, so I tried to stick to my game plan as much as I could. Any time you give Nadine an easy shot she does some killing shots, so I’m glad I managed to win in three.

“I tried to warm up a lot, we haven’t played since my last match so I tried to play a little bit of solo so I could just keep going and get myself into the match. I’m glad I managed to take the first quickly.

“I tried as hard as I can to play some tight shots so she would give me opportunities to go short. When I focus on my game plan I think it managed to go very well.”


Salma Hany

“You can tell Coline is a very tough opponent. She beat me last time in March and she was the better player on that day. I didn’t stress about that last match, I just focused on my game and tried to play better than I did in the first match. I made sure I was solid from the first rally until the end and as you can see in the second game she tried to come back, but I’m glad to pull through in three.

“I definitely worked a lot on my mental aspect and every game I just tried to focus and not let anything else distract me. It’s been working well and I hope I can improve every match.

“I think it took a lot of work for me to be that solid on court and I’m glad it’s working. I’m enjoying spending more time on court and definitely looking forward to the quarter-finals..

“I’m just looking forward to it and happy to be there again for another day. I’ll stick to my routine, stretch, cool down and let them have a tough match out there. I’ll be watching in my room.”

Day Two

[6] Marwan ElShorbagy  3-0 Benjamin Aubert (Fra)            11-7, 11-8, 11-4 (39m)
[7] Tesni Evans (Wal) 3-2 Zeina Mickawy          14-12, 11-4, 5-11, 4-11, 11-9 (60m)
[3] Karim Abdel Gawad 3-2 Lucas Serme (Fra)  10-12, 11-4, 11-8, 5-11, 11-6 (71m)
[2] Nour El Tayeb 3-0 Jasmine Hutton (Eng)                      11-5, 11-7, 11-4 (28m)

[2] Ali Farag 3-0 Nathan Lake (Eng)                                11-9, 11-6, 11-5 (31m)
[12] Gregoire Marche 3-0 Youssef Soliman                        11-7, 11-7, 11-2 (43m)
Nicolas Mueller (Sui) 3-1 [11] Omar Mosaad             11-9, 7-11, 11-8, 11-8 (51m)

When Nour finally saw Ali…

Due to social distancing guidelines enforced at the tournament following the global COVID-19 pandemic, players are not allowed to have their coaching team on-site at all and are also required to have their own hotel rooms rather than sharing with their spouses. CIB Nour El Tayeb normally rooms with husband and World No.2 Ali Farag and relished the chance to catch up with him after her match.

World No.3 CIB Karim Abdel Gawad is in the last 16 after he overcame another Frenchman, Lucas Serme, also by a 3-2 margin.

It was a real ‘Jekyll and Hyde’ performance from the former World No.1 who showcased his impressive racket skills to take a 2-1 lead, but in the fourth he reverted to the casual style of play that cost him in the opening game.

Lucas was able to level the scores up, but Karim often rises to the occasion when a match enters a fifth game, and it was no different here in Manchester as the momentum shifted back into the Egyptian’s favour as he completed a 10-12, 11-4, 11-8, 5-11, 11-6 win in 71 minutes – the longest match of the tournament so far.

World No.2 CIB Ali Farag got off to a winning start against England’s Nathan Lake, while there were also wins for World No.7 Marwan ElShorbagy. Unfortunately, Swiss Nicolas Mueller upset World No.15 Omar Mosaad in the day’s final match to become the only unseeded man to make it to round two.

Nour El Tayeb
“I haven’t seen Ali for the last few days, so it’s nice to chat, I miss him. I was just joking with him about the match, I thought I played well and he agreed, so it’s nice to get the reassurance from him that I did well today.

“It is different, I’m not going to lie, but it doesn’t bother me very much that there is no one watching. I knew Ali was in the venue, so I was a bit calm knowing that my family is around and I’m very happy to be playing again.

“I think I was impressed with how I was dealing with someone who I have never played before and barely watched. The first match for six months is obviously not easy for anyone, so I’m very happy to get the first win and hopefully I can keep playing well.

“There are plenty of other players, the tour is not just Nour and Nouran and I’m still the second seed. Hania El Hammamy won the last major, Camille before too and I haven’t won a major in a while. Two of the current in-form players are in the tournament, so I’d love to win it but I think it’s still a bit too early to think about that.”


Karim Abdel Gawad
“It was a very hard match, it’s always tough playing Lucas. He’s moving very well on court, he’s quick and he also has some very good shots, so it’s hard to play with him, especially after seven months or so off. Playing him in the first round is very tough.

“You always have a better pre-season than we had this time, we normally have more than two months for the pre-season, but we had less than that this time after a very long time out during the lockdown. I took almost five months off and only did some very basic stuff in my house to try and keep the flexibility and mobility in my body.

“But we haven’t done a lot of endurance and physical stuff, so it’s hard to be back but it’s very nice to compete and play tournaments. That’s what we train for and that’s our life.”


Ali Farag
“It’s exciting, I don’t want to keep saying what everyone else has been saying but squash is obviously a huge thing for us, so to be able to do what we love is a great feeling.

“They’re difficult conditions but equally as enjoyable. There is always room for improvement, but for a first match back after six months it’s very positive. He started off better and I was lacking a little bit of intensity, but I think I gained that as the match went on and I hope I can carry on with this momentum going forward.

“We miss the fans, I said it was enjoyable but it’s never going to be as enjoyable without the fans here. We feed off the crowd and their energy and I remember the World Champs back here in Manchester [in 2017] the vibe was amazing and hopefully very soon we can have them back.”


Marwan Elshorbagy
“I was a bit edgy and nervous, it’s my first match after six months, but I’m glad to win in three games.

“I’m happy with the way I played overall and I think I can get better round by round. I haven’t played Benjamin before but I’ve seen him play in Detroit. He’s had a few good results there, so I knew he would be hungry and he doesn’t really care who he is playing.

“He really wanted to win today and he surprised me a little bit with the way he played, but I was just trying to contain him as much as possible and I’m glad I managed to do that.

“I took two months completely off when I was in Bristol during lockdown, I tried to keep fit after the first couple of months and mentally I just wanted to relax. I got my body going a little bit and I have a great team behind me. Mark Campbell was giving me my programme and I was just trying to take it easy on my body a little bit.

“Physically I was trying to get as ready as possible and then I went back to Egypt at the end of July where I started with my squash coach, Haitham Effat.”

We had 9 Egyptian players on course today in the Day One of the Round One, and seven went through.

Egyptian trio Hania El Hammamy, Salma Hany and Nadine Shahin were all on the winning side on the first day of action in Manchester as they claimed respective victories over France’s Enora Villard and Melissa Alves, and Canada’s Danielle Letourneau. We lost Hana Ramadan and Nada Abbas though against Coline Aumard and Lucy Turmel respectively.

In the men’s draw, World No.1 Mohamed ElShorbagy picked up where he left off before the suspension as he displayed a confident performance against Germany’s Raphael Kandra to take an 11-8, 11-5, 11-8 victory.

The Egyptian will take on England’s former World No.1 James Willstrop for a place in the quarter finals after he made light work of Pakistan’s Tayyab Aslam to book his place in the second round.

Meanwhile, World Champion Tarek Momen also got his campaign at the PSA Silver event off to a winning start with a 3-1 victory over Qatar’s Abdulla Mohd Al Tamimi.

The two players have enjoyed some competitive battles of late, with their two matches this season going all the way to five games. However, this time proved more straightforward for Momen as he was able to fight back from a game down to secure his place in the second round, where he will take on compatriot Mohamed Abouelghar, following his hard-fought victory over England’s George Parker in the last match of the day on the glass court.


[8] Salma Hany 3-0 Melissa Alves (Fra)                         11-8, 11-9, 11-8 (37m)
[14] Coline Aumard (Fra) 3-0 Hana Ramadan                11-9, 11-9, 11-7 (36m)
[11] Nadine Shahin 3-1 Danielle Letourneau (Can)  11-8, 7-11, 12-10, 11-8 (39m)
[4] Hania El Hammamy 3-0 Enora Villard (Fra)                11-7, 11-2, 11-3 (29m)
Lucy Turmel (Eng) 3-1 [13] Nada Abbas              12-10, 13-11, 9-11, 11-6 (55m)

[4] Tarek Momen 3-1 Abdulla Mohd Al Tamimi (Qat) 8-11, 11-8, 11-6, 11-9 (56m)
[10] Fares Dessouky 3-0 Alan Clyne (Sco)                    11-4, 13-11, 11-1 (34m)
[1] Mohamed ElShorbagy 3-0 Raphael Kandra (Ger)        11-8, 11-5, 11-8 (34m)
[9] Mohamed Abouelghar 3-0 George Parker (Eng)          11-9, 11-9, 11-7 (46m)

Mohamed Abouelghar

“It has been a hard time for all of us. I had no expectations coming here. This is not usual and they are very different circumstance but I am very happy with how I played through the match,” Abouelghar said.

“I worked a lot on my mental aspects during lockdown, and I am happy to come through. I came here just wanting to play and enjoy myself. To start with a performance like that is a huge positive.

“I am not well known for my patience, so I was working on that a lot. Shot selection, I am trying to be more conservative and to not go for fancy shots when the pressure is on. Sometimes I still go for it, and I might lose it, but it is still part of my game.”


Mohamed ElShorbagy 
“I’m really happy to be back. It’s really exciting for all of the players to be back competing and seeing everyone in the zone again. I was really nervous before I played, but I’m just really happy to be back on court and competing again.

“When I saw the draw I knew it was going to be a different match because he’s a leftie and he goes for shots. Usually when you haven’t played for a while, you want to just get used to the glass court and get used to competing, but with Kandra he breaks that rhythm with the way he plays. Mentally I knew it wasn’t going to be easy at the beginning. When I was 8-4 down I think I just had to up the pace a bit, I was a bit passive at the beginning and fair play to him when I gave him an easy shot, he put it away.

“Seeing everyone here is great. When you aim to win tournaments, you always want to win the tournaments that have everyone and the top guys in it. I’m just happy to be back competing with all the top guys here and it will be interesting to see how fit everyone is and the changes they have made. It’s always interesting to see the different styles.”


Hania El Hammamy

“It feels great to be back. Everyone was waiting for squash to be back and I was very excited and really looking forward to the tournament. I was ready and I really wanted to be back.

“I was really frustrated when the tour got suspended. I was in good form and I wanted to keep going and keep playing tournaments because I was expecting so much from myself. Now, that I’m back I’m focusing on the tournaments and I have confidence and feel like I can keep going like I did in Black Ball.

“Everyone is watching – my parents, my coaches, my friends, I expect a lot of messages from my friends! Hopefully everyone enjoyed it.”


Tarek Momen

“It’s definitely tough for me to have Abdulla in the first match after a six-month break. At first, I didn’t know how to handle the conditions, I felt my length was too short and I wasn’t up to speed as well – there were a few shots I would usually get that I couldn’t. I think my main focus towards the end of the first game was just to hang in there and play a few more points to get into it before we got off court and regroup for the second.

“From then on thankfully my length was a lot better and my movement was a lot better. He gave me a bit of a scare in the end, I was 9-4 up and then he just suddenly decided to go for it and everything he went for it went in. I felt I had almost won the match and then all of a sudden, we were into a decider.

“I’m pleased to have been able to push towards the end and with the last couple of points, I took some risks and it paid off.

“It feels a lot more like practice [with no fans], of course the nerves and tension are there but when I hit a dropshot and nobody is sat outside watching I probably think I’m back home practicing. We’re getting used to it, I watched a lot of tennis before coming here, so I’m getting the vibe of playing in front of no audience.

“It will definitely affect each player in a different way. I would like to think of myself as someone who can push through regardl-ess. We miss having people watching and cheering because that’s what we play for, but there are people watching and just behind a screen and not here.”


Salma Hany

“I’m so happy to be back,”

“I love this court, obviously it is a challenging first match and Melissa is a very tough opponent. She is physically very strong, and she never gives up a point, so I had to make sure that I stuck to my plan. I tried to execute what I’ve been working on and enjoy being back on court.

“Maybe I wasn’t as sharp as I wanted, but that’s ok, we haven’t played in a long time, so I’m very happy to be through in three.

“I enjoyed being a normal human being during the suspension and not a squash player for a little bit and I was happy with the pause of the time and then we had good timing to put some work on. It’s good and bad, definitely good to be back on tour and a little bit of adrenaline going on. Hopefully the tour can continue and we don’t stop again.

“There’s a lot of things going on, a lot of restrictions and a lot of rules, I’m sure not everyone is enjoying it but at the same time we have to accept it and be satisfied that we are back at a tournament under tough conditions. We isolate ourselves and don’t really get out of the hotel, it’s tough, but every athlete has to cope with the conditions they face. It’s a tournament at the end of the day and we have to be happy that the tournaments are back.”

Mohamed ElShorbagy has described the confirmation of the PSA World Tour’s resumption at the Manchester Open on September 16 as “great news.” He has also backed the PSA’s decision to make the tournament a closed-door event, even if he admits he may have to find an alternative way to psyche himself up rather than feed off the fans.

“It is great news that we have the first three tournaments on the provisional schedule now confirmed. Obviously when you are seeing all the other sports like football and tennis being played then it is time for squash to be back too.

“It will be sad that we don’t have the fans with us at Manchester because they are such a massive part of our game, but we can’t take any chances. So, for me it is the right thing to have Manchester behind closed doors.

“In any case I am sure that SquashTV will do a great job covering Manchester.”

A keen sports fan, ElShorbagy has wholeheartedly backed the PSA’s safety first approach, following problems in other sports such as World No.1 men’s tennis player Novak Djokovic’s Adria Tour which came in under fire after being played in front of a crowd, lack of social distancing and resulted in several players testing positive for COVID-19.

“You look at what happened with Djokovic and his Adria Tour and clearly that was not the way to do things and as a result a few of the players got Covid. So, I think it is totally the right thing to have Manchester behind closed doors.

“The problem is that all it takes is one fan asking for an autograph and then you can have a player getting infected and then, much like with Djokovic and these guys in tennis, several of the players go down with it and then things start to fall apart.

“I know we are not sure as yet about the tournaments in Egypt being behind closed doors but you look at the World Tour Finals and if one player gets Covid and infects another, well you only have eight players competing, and the impact of that would be hard to manage.

“So, of course we want the fans back as soon as possible but it must be when it is safe for them and the players and hopefully that will sooner rather than later.”

Famed for his ability to draw on the fans’ support for fresh energy and a extra shot of adrenaline ElShorbagy has admitted that his viewing of the US Open in tennis, he can draw inspiration on others ways to fire himself up.

“I have been watching the US Open Tennis and it has been interesting to see how the likes of Djokovic and Andy Murray have psyched themselves up. For sure not having fans present will affect some players more than others but you can’t use that as an excuse.

“As a professional you need to find what works for you, find a way and there is no way you can be using the absence of fans as an excuse that the atmosphere is flat and you can’t get up for it.

“So, for me the attitude has to be to get on with it and in any case I think everyone playing at Manchester will just be so glad to be back competing again that I don’t see it as an issue. And I will be going to Manchester with the same approach I take for every tournament and that is I am going there to win it.”


The PSA World Tour will make a long-awaited return when the

world’s top players line up at the Manchester Open, PSA Silver tournament from 16th to 22nd September as the six-month suspension of professional squash due to the global COVID-19 pandemic comes to an end.

The tournament, originally scheduled for May 2020, will be held behind closed doors, and will follow strict COVID-19 protocols to ensure the health and safety of all players and on-site staff.

Men: The Top Four Egyptians onsite

Following the inaugural women’s tournament in 2019, a men’s Silver tournament has been added to the bill and the men’s draw will feature the entirety of the top 10, with World No.1 Mohamed ElShorbagy headlining the draw ahead of World No.2 CIB Ali Farag, World No.3 CIB Karim Abdel Gawad and World Champion CIB Tarek Momen.

Mohamed will begin his tournament against Germany’s World No.29 Raphael Kandra, with a possible second round clash with Colombia’s Miguel Rodriguez, who faces Pakistan’s Tayyab Aslam in round one, in store.

The World No.1 will face tough competition to get to the final, with his side of the draw including World No.4 Momen, New Zealand’s World No.5 Paul Coll and Peru’s World No.6 Diego Elias.

At the opposite end of the draw, Ali will line up against Scotland’s Greg Lobban in round one with the likes of compatriots Gawad and Marwan ElShorbagy on his side of the draw, along with Wales’ World No.10 Joel Makin, who will face France’s Victor Crouin on the opening day of action.

Women: Less Top Egyptians in the main draw

If she was thinking about going to Manchester, Nour El Sherbini changed her mind and won’t be there, same for CIB Nouran Gohar, the world number one.

So, draw is led by by France’s World No.3 Camille Serme, with the likes of defending champion New Zealand’s Joelle King, World No.4 CIB Nour El Tayeb, England’s World No.5 Sarah-Jane Perry and Wales’ World No.9 Tesni Evans all included in the draw.

WR6 CIB Hania El Hammamy faces Camille Serme in Round One, who she managed to beat in their last encounter, in CIB Blackball quarters, back in March.

At the opposite end of the draw, Nour will come up against England’s Jasmine Hutton in round one while World No.26 Zeina Mickawy will face last year’s runner-up Tesni Evans will face Egypt’s